Talent Scout: Seydou Doumbia, CSKA Moscow

 

As the final preparations are made ahead of the forthcoming African Cup of Nations finals, few coaches are feeling the pressure like Ivory Coast boss François Zahoui, who knows he must deliver success to one of the continents perennial underachievers.

The Éléphants have only won the AFCON title once, back in 1992, but with such a dearth of talent available to them, the need to end the trophy drought is stronger than ever. Key to this years challenge will be star names like Manchester City's Yaya Touré and Arsenal's Gervinho , as well as talismanic captain and chief goalscorer Dider Drogba . However, amid all the recognisable faces, there will be one little known front man looking to steal Drogba 's lime light, and fire the Ivory Coast to silverware.

He's CSKA Moscow striker Seydou Doumbia , who celebrates his 24th birthday today, having scored 24 goals in 30 games so far this term. It's just an example of his exciting scoring prowess, which, despite being recognised with a Russian Footballer of the Year award last week, is yet to tempt one of Europe's elite into acquiring his services.

But biding his time is nothing new for Doumbia ; his career has been all about a mixture of travelling and battling, in search for the best opportunities. Born in the up market; coastal town of Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast, he joined Athlétic Adjamé aged nine, before quickly moving through the ranks. He would go on to Toumodi FC on loan, before a switch to Denguélé allowed Doumbia the chance to flourish. He scored 15 goals in his début campaign, before an agent helped do a deal with J-League outfit Kashiwa Reysol . It was a sideways step.

Doumbia would struggle at Reysol , but still scored three times, while a loan move to Tokushima Vortis helped his adaptation further, until Swiss side Young Boys were put onto his promise. It was a club that put his developed back on track, and after repaying the faith with 50 goals in two seasons, a switch to the wealthy Russian Premier League with CSKA Moscow followed in January 2010.

Since then, Doumbia has continued his adaptation into a more rounded European forward, where he seems to improve week-by-week. Now, the forthcoming AFCON represents a perfect chance for interested parties to take a closer look, in a forward who has the raw abilities to fit most league's and styles.

Doumbia is a natural and instinctive striker, who thrives on unsettling defences with his speed, power and direct running style. He's often found lurking on the shoulder of the defender, where he can run in behind or find space to feed off scraps in the box. He's a real handful for any defender, but despite being five foot 10 inches tall, can't be snuffed out by the physical side. In fact, he has excellent strength, and more than holds his own.

In terms of other qualities, Doumbia is a hard worker, has intelligent movement, always finds spaces in the box, and can also drift wide and dribble the ball when necessary. However, this is a player all about scoring goals, and that's where his true talents shine through. In front of goal, he has good composure, is a confident and clinical finisher and can be explosive in tight situations. In the air, he's not the biggest, but attacks the ball well and has a good conversion rate.

Doumbia needs to work on aspects of his game such as his over reliance on his right foot, positional discipline and his link up play with team-mates, but all the signs are good.

Overall, Doumbia is not a technical all round centre forward, but a wily goal poacher, who knows how to unsettle defenders with his pace, power, strength and movement, while also having the clinical skills to finish chances off. He's a real handful, and used correctly, could prove to be the key piece in the Ivory Coast jigsaw next month.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Keith Fraser says we should give Isis sympathises free flights to join Isis (AFP)
news
Life and Style
Google celebrates the 126th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening its doors to the public for the first time
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
Sport
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor